In fact, if recovery was a road - it would be an overgrown dirt path. With boulders. And ravines. Up a mountain. Perhaps the mountain is a volcano. So when you get closer to the top, the terrain is a bit easier to navigate but you're still going to get hit with some fiery lava now and again. At least there's not ashes in your eyes as you stumble around. But its still really inconvenient. I think when you reach the mouth of said volcano - one metaphorically throws anorexia into the molten core of the earth. LMK if you get there, I want details.
It is very difficult for me to admit this. But there are times when I don't feel like I've recovered at all.
I suppose some might argue that my ability to recognizes my weaknesses is a sign I have progressed quite well, but I digress.
I do not handle stress well. At all.
I find myself feeling such great anxiety over the coming weeks - my internship, school, my weight, my gym schedule, etc - that I actually have had to leave my boyfriend's apartment and go back to my parent's house. Where I feel safe. Where I can count calories with ease. Where I feel like I can hide. Here, I know my parents won't judge me. They won't get upset with my ridiculous fears of being fat, of eating, of even getting dressed in the morning. Well, they will. But to the extent my boyfriend would - because they've dealt with me for years. I'm not afraid of scaring them in that way. I know that while it annoys them when I go back to measuring cups, they will always be glad to at least see me eating. They know its a phase and it'll pass again.
There are times when I look in the mirror and I just know. The beast is angry. I see it in my eyes when I wake up in the morning. There is a certain hollowness that comes into my gaze as I look in the mirror while washing my face and brushing my teeth. I feel it creeping up inside me. And then I panic.
I don't feel I've ever really learned how to deal with anorexia. I only learned how to stuff it down. I put my eating disorder in a box. I ignore it. I continue on with my day. I do what needs to be done without looking back.
Perhaps that is the only way to deal with it, I don't know. I do know that when you stuff it down, it tends to become volatile. Every time I ignore my eating disorder - there is both a victory, and another inch added to an already lit fuse. You can keep adding inches to the fuse, but it's going to explode eventually.
There is a trifecta of events that usually leads to this explosion. I recognize it. I am aware of it. Unfortunately I've not yet learned how to stop it. I'm busy. I run myself into the ground. I get sick. I get stressed. I start to feel inadequate and insecure. And then, there she blows. I look in the mirror. And the string of thoughts ensues. I know how to block them out. Sometimes it will take longer than others. It might just be a passing thought. Most of the time, they are just fleeting things that can be brushed off and dealt with. But when I am beaten down, it is harder to do. Sometimes, on this level, anorexia wins. I won't let myself go back to the way I was. I won't restrict. But I will want to hide. I become afraid of being seen, of being touched. Its a painful experience. I will go sit in my car and cry to avoid having anyone ask me what's wrong. I don't want to burden anyone with these things, because I know they will fear the worst. I don't want to be abnormal. I am often afraid that I may never be anything but that. It doesn't feel like it will ever get better.
Anorexia taught me to suffer. I learned to suffer in a different way. I learned to do what I needed to do, no matter how terrible it felt. I still abide by that. But there are times when these feelings are so strong, it is hard to suppress them fully. It feels like I failed recovery. In treatment, the doctors and therapists make you feel like once you get better - there will be no more pain. I never believed that, but it does stick in my mind. Like, maybe I'm not really better at all because I shouldn't still be dealing with things. But I do. And I'm not sure if it'll ever go away.
I know there will be good days and bad days. I don't know if I'll be truly free. I know if I don't keep going, I may never find out. If I were to put a positive spin on this, I would say this internal conflict is a good thing. It means that I am pushing anorexia further out of my life every day, and that I am doing things with my life - things that have no place for it. I am tired and stressed and sick because I do something with myself every day, going forth in the face of apprehension and fear. I would surely rather continue to make something of myself, to do something meaningful with my life - than to waste my time in a limbo of chances never taken.